Ladakh For The Vegetarians – Traveling In Ladakh


Everyone is a Vegetarian – some people also opt to have non-vegetarian food. Those of us who eat only vegetarian food often have questions for certain locations like Thailand, Malaysia or our very own Ladakh. Are there enough food options in Ladakh for the vegetarians?

Ladakh Travel for Vegetarians

This photo essay will take you through some of the food that I ate in Ladakh. I am skipping the regular food options that you get in high-end hotels and sticking to the Ladakhi food options for this post.

A young monk eating while chanting his morning prayers at Thiksey Monastery Ladakh
A young monk eating while chanting his morning prayers

Gud Gud Chai

If you begin your day in a monastery, like we did one of the days, you would see monks drinking Gud Gud Chai all the time and stopping every now and then to eat a porridge-like breakfast. Young monks get up every few minutes and refill tea and food for rest of the monks and the whole exercise after a while seems like a part of the meditative exercise.

Tea being refilled at Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh. Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Tea being refilled at Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh

This is how the Gud Gud Chai looks like – it is made with Salt and Butter in it – so sometimes also called Noon ( Punjabi word for Salt) or Salt tea and of course most of us know it as Butter Tea.

Gud Gud Chai of Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Gud Gud Chai

Baked Roti

For Breakfast team up Gud Gud Chai with the baked thick Roti. The Roti gets cold as soon as it is out of the oven, so you need to eat it as such. We were offered omelet with this Roti but since I do not even eat eggs, I ate it with butter – but it was like eating two cold things together. Can’t ask for anything better when the temperature outside is -23 deg Celsius.

Roti or bread of Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Roti or bread of Ladakh for the Vegetarians

Just to give you a perspective, this is the Ladakhi home, with a total mountain view where we sat and had our Roti & Gud Gud Chai breakfast.

Ladakhi Home with a Mountain View
Ladakhi Home with a Mountain View

Chhaang drink

Every corner of India has its own local drink so how can Ladakh be far away. This is the local Chhaang drink served in a wooden bowl called Kore. The same wooden cup is used for tea and food as well in monasteries.

Ladakji Drink Chhaang in a wooden cup Kore, Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Chhaang in a Kore, Ladakh for the Vegetarians

Homemade noodle soup with tiny Chanas or black gram in it…

Homemade noodle soup in Ladakh with Chickpeas
Homemade noodle soup, Ladakh for the Vegetarians

The ingredients that go into the soup…basically – Noodles and Black Gram with some mild spices and salt.

Ingredients of Noodle Soup in Ladakah
Ingredients of Noodle Soup

Momo’s with Walnut Chutney

Momo’s with Walnut Chutney that was the real hero of this course…

Ladakhi Momos, Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Ladakhi Momos

Ladakhis make Chutneys and Jams with almost everything that grows here – be it apricots, Apricot kernels, apples or Walnuts and do them almost without using any sugar. So when I tasted these jams they were more sour than sweet, reminding me that till processed food took over our lives, we all ate healthy.

Ladakhi Chutneys
Ladakhi Chutneys

Apricot dessert

Even the desserts are made out of local fruits – this is an Apricot dessert – that was just yummy and healthy.

Apricot Dessert, Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Apricot Dessert

Since it is the cold environment, Cheese is always a good option. You get the regular cheese and the cheese made of Yak milk . Churpey or dried cheese is a popular favorite is Ladakh.

Cheese Platter in Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Cheese Platter

Although there are enough options in Ladakh for the Vegetarians, but if everything else fails, fruits are always there for you. Choose from the fruit basket of Himalayan fruits.

Fruits in Ladakh for the Vegetarians
Fruits for vegetarians in the Ladakh

Dry Fruits

If not fruits, pick up dry fruits from the Leh market to keep you warmly fed.

Dry Fruits in Leh Market
Dry Fruits in Leh Market

Of course, to keep you warm and hydrated, there is Kahwah – The Ladakhi version of Chai.

Kahwah - the morning to night drink of Ladakh
Kahwah – the morning to night drink of Ladakh

Lastly, do not miss the ornate utensils that are used to serve tea / kahwah or Chhaang.

Tea Pot in Ladakh

So, go ahead and plan your road trips in Ladakh and rest assured there is enough in Ladakh for the Vegetarians.

Recommend you to read following Jammu Kashmir tourist attractions on my travel blog.

  1. Kahwah – the Warmth of Kashmir.
  2. Gulmarg Gondola ride & beyond.
  3. Ladakh in Winters – Mini Road Trips.
  4. Houseboats in Srinagar – Living an Experience.
  5. Rendezvous with a Female Buddhist Oracle in Ladakh.


  1. Wonderful clicks Anuradha!! Their food seems quite healthy and polite for stomach 😉 I heart their culture and living. thanks for taking me there through your blog 🙂

  2. Anuradha, Your posts take me to a different world. I come to your blog when I am low, or sometimes, when I am okay, but it is always a mood booster, a peaceful and meditative experience.

    • Hi Pooja, they actually do consume dairy products – like fried cheese and milk in Gud Gud Chai. So not sure if we can call their food Vegan, but I was happy to have some vegetarian options.

  3. A very informative post for us, vegetarians. The pictures are so appetising. I have been longing to visit Ladakh and especially taste the gud gud chai.